Last year, Mozilla managed to get Firefox back on track. While the long delay of Firefox 4 gave competitors like the up-and-coming Google Chrome a chance to gain quite a bit of market share. Mozilla adapted to the changing environment and switched to a Chrome-like rapid-release schedule that is focused on releasing a new version every six weeks.
Given these short release cycles, it’s good to keep the larger picture in view sometimes and, thankfully, Mozilla today provided us with a nice overview of what we can expect from Firefox over the coming months.
The organisation has discussed most of these plans before, but it’s good to take another look at what’s in store for the popular browser.
A SPDYer browser
Among the highlights Firefox’s users can look forward to is default support for Google’s SPDY protocol that speeds up the communication between your browser and web servers. In the current version (11), SPDY is not enabled by default, but you can turn it on by browsing to about:config and doing a search for spdy.enabled.
In addition, Mozilla also plans to turn on HTTP pipelining by default. This allows the browser to download different elements of a site in parallel, which should speed things up, especially for sites that don’t yet support the SPDY protocol.
Mozilla also plans to bring silent updates to Firefox. This means, you will never have to see another update dialog again. Instead, Firefox will just update itself automatically, just like Chrome currently does. The development team plans to launch this feature in version 13.
Better web apps
Mozilla wants to integrate web apps more deeply into the browser. This means support for Mozilla’s online app store, which is scheduled to launch later this year, but also a lot of work on the backend, including support for Mozilla’s identity solution, an install process for web apps and the ability for apps to run in the background.
This, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg. You can find a full list of the features Mozilla has planned for this year on its blog.